It’s a shame this documentary, approved and produced by God/Devil [delete as applicable]of Music Simon Cowell, isn’t more interesting. It could have been a fascinating insight into the unprecedented popularity of One Direction and the way the group work. In the end, it feels as mass-produced, corporate and unremarkable as a lot of the group’s songs.
This said, I have no animosity towards this gang of pretty-faced, Topman-clad lads. Their music, though sometimes mundane, is pleasant enough, and they seem like a group of genuinely nice, friendly people, eager to work hard and make the most of the chance they have been given. The problem I have with the film is that it could very easily have been something on ITV at Christmas as a one-off X Factor revisited special or something similar. There is nothing cinematic about this film aside from a handful of obvious 3D musical numbers.
The oddest thing about it is that it’s directed by Morgan Spurlock, the Oscar nominated filmmaker who raged against the big corporate machine in documentaries such as Supersize Me and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. However here, instead of battling corporate power and making his own mark, he’s joined the monster he once so entertainingly sought to slay.
In the end, there is nothing awful about This is Us. It’s rather enjoyable at times and should please the more undemanding of fans who don’t want a rigorous investigation into boyband-mania but are happy to see shots of Harry Styles wandering around in his boxer shorts looking like he owns the world. Who knows, one day he might.
One Direction: This is Us (2013), directed by Morgan Spurlock, is released in UK cinemas by Sony Pictures, Certificate PG.